January 9, 2012
You’ve heard of pinkwashing, greenwashing–now “blackwashing” joins the cast of pro-Israel hasbara communities exploited in order to combat the major criticisms of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Pinkwashing is the effort to promote Israel to the gay community in order to point out the homophobia of Arab culture and nations. Greenwashing is the attempt by environmental groups like Jewish National Fund to point to Israel’s alleged sensitivity to environmental issues (excluding of course its heinous treatment of Negev Bedouins whose communities are being bulldozed by the Israeli government in collaboration with JNF). Now blackwashing is the rage.
|African American political leaders and |
students on Aipac Israel junket
When Vincent Evans arrived as a bright-eyed first-year at Florida A&M, the country’s largest historically black university, he knew he wanted to get involved in politics. So when an older student leader approached him one afternoon after a student government meeting to ask if he wanted an all expenses paid trip to D.C., Evans jumped at the opportunity.Does the Israel lobby care about African-American students? Does it care about the issues close to their heart? Is it about to reach out to Blacks to create political coalitions to advance causes of mutual interest to each community? Are you kiddin’? These kids are fodder in the PR war. They don’t mean anything other than having a black face to show the world that Israel isn’t an apartheid nation. But how much do these kids really know about Israel?
The trip, it turned out, was sponsored by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, the country’s most powerful pro-Israel lobbying outfit. Israel is under growing attack from Palestinian and international activists who call the country a racist apartheid state. In response, its staunchest U.S. lobby is recruiting black students as moral shields to make the case for Israeli impunity. At historically black colleges and universities (known as HBCU’s) around the country, AIPAC is finding and developing a cadre of black allies to declare there’s no way Israel can be racist.
In his four years in college, Evans traveled to D.C. at least 10 times on AIPAC’s dime. He and a small group of other student leaders from his school joined hundreds of others from around the country, including other HBCU students, for AIPAC’s semi-annual Saban Leadership Seminar.
“Within the program,” says Evans, “they make a concerted effort to reach out to HBCU and majority Hispanic schools.”